Digital Ad Spending To Reach $60 Billion This Year

Digital ad spending has reached new heights over the past few years — and it looks like it’s going to get even higher.

A report from eMarketer indicates that digital ad spending in the United States alone will reach $58.61 billion this year, with retailers accounting for 22 percent of the overall figure — a whopping $12.91 billion.

As you can see from the chart above, retail takes the biggest chunk of the picture, although other groups, like automotive, entertainment and financial services, have a small amount as well.

“While digital ad growth remains the story for all industries, it is not ‘one size fits all,’ and nuances among sectors reflect a variety of trends in the ways each industry approaches its market, targets consumers and closes sales,” said Victoria Petrock, principal analyst for eMarketer. “For 2015, mobile, digital video and programmatic buying are the brightest stars in the digital advertising line-up.”

This is true across all markets, particularly entertainment, which is slowly but surely gaining in numbers when it comes to mobile ad spending. It’s likely to reach $1.5 billion, with big spending on new television shows and movies. However, media is showing more spending with $1.73 billion, with focus on general products.

That said, they still can’t come close to retail, with $6.65 billion being spent in that industry alone, followed by financial services ($3.49 billion), automotive ($3.43 billion) and telecommunications ($3.27 billion). The chart above highlights the top groups.

As far as outreach for these ads, a lot of consumers still buy at home, but some retailers prefer to reach them during the purchase process. A number of retail sales occur in-store — a total of 7.2 percent of retail sales for the year – which means an increase in omnichannel efforts to boost mobile ad spending during driving visits.

Programmatic buying also plays a part, with $3.71 billion being spent this year on digital display ads handled programmatically, or nearly 25 percent of the overall $14.88 billion being spent on programmatic buys overall.

When it comes to programmatic digital display ad spending for this year, CPG will account for 14.1 percent of all display dollars for the year, with only retail beating it out, as you can see by the chart above. Even though it’s a smaller portion, entertainment and media take a good chunk of that as well.

According to an advertising executive familiar with the report, CPG brands are “driving the shift into programmatic (and) also demanding better accountability for viewability and measurement.

Finally, there’s digital video, which has its own amount of figures to share. The retail and automotive markets are strong leaders on this chart, with $1.55 and $1.10 billion, respectively. That said, other smaller groups, like financial services, entertainment, and media, have their own place on this list, with a healthy percentage.

More details on the report can be found here.


The Industries Creating YouTube’s Most Effective Ads

Having a good outreach with video ads is one thing, but keeping that engagement going with creative ads is another, as word of mouth about such ads can spread like wildfire across social media. And there are a number of companies that are quite good at it.

Adweek recently posted a story based on numbers reported by Networked Insights, measuring which industries were producing the most effective ads on YouTube. The report shows that tech, automotive and fashion industries are the most successful on the channel, based on data pulled from the first three months of 2015 (as well as other demographic data.).

Most of YouTube’s audience are made up of global and mainly male viewers, with less than a quarter overall reported to be female. However, despite lower numbers, female have a far more effective sharing input with other users than males.

As you can see from the first chart above, 80 percent of overall YouTube traffic comes from outside the U.S., across 75 countries in 61 different languages. It seems that, in the United States at least, sharing isn’t as popular as in other countries, where Japan shows a 2.2 times likely ratio of sharing videos.

That doesn’t mean companies aren’t thriving with video content, though. Gaming and mobile tech brands show dominance in the top ten shared brands across the world, with Microsoft’s Xbox division leading with 10.6 percent when it comes to branded conversation. Closely behind is Nintendo with 6.7 percent, followed by Apple, Android and Sony. Rounding out the list are the PlayStation brand, Ford, Wal-Mart, Aeropostale and SeaWorld.

Why is Microsoft dominating on the list with Xbox According to Networked Insights analyst David Porche, it’s a matter of understanding the audience. “Xbox content on YouTube focuses on forthcoming games and content users want to share. By selectively sharing trailers, Xbox capitalizes on existing excitement about new games and systems. While there are roundtables, how-to video and other types of videos, Xbox sticks with what works.”

Out of the brands that create the most resonating content, however, fashion is king, with 12.5 times the industry amplification. Tech is closely behind with 9.5 times sharing, followed by automotive (5.3 times), toys (4 times) and financial services (1.8 times). Meanwhile, retail, travel and CPG don’t show much growth at all.

How do fashion brands dominate According to the report, there are three bullet points.

-Create content that’s surprising but not necessarily funny

-Use envy to create interest and fuel desire

-Create a “cult of personality” among their target audience.

Said Porche, “Fashion brands create video content that shows the desired lifestyle of their audience and viewers connect and try to mirror that behavior. Sharing the fashion brand’s content on Twitter solidifies a viewer’s allegiance to a brand they see as desirable. Fashion video content that is surprising makes the viewer feel like they are in on a secret once they have finished the video.

“This type of content speaks to personality traits and beliefs with which their target audience identifies. The viewers then see the brand and feel a sense of belonging to it and want to show that connection to their social circle as a result.”

StyleHaul’s Leaders To Talk Content Strategy At [a]list Video summit

We are delighted to announce that StyleHaul CEO and president Stephanie Horbaczewski and Chief Content Officer Mia Goldwyn has been confirmed to join the all-star speaker lineup at the 2015 [a]list summit, taking place at W Hollywood Hotel on Aug. 19. The chat will be moderated by actress, television host and online influencer Shira Lazar of What’s Trending.

StyleHaul CEO and president Stephanie Horbaczewski and Chief Content Officer Mia GoldwynStyleHaul CEO and President Stephanie Horbaczewski and Chief Content Officer Mia Goldwyn

Horbaczewski and Goldwyn, who recently joined StyleHaul from Paramount Pictures, will take part in a fireside chat discussing the latest trends in branded content development and StyleHaul’s offerings in the space which now exceeds 5,200 channels, over 224 million network subscribers and 19+ billion views.

Specifically, Stephanie and Mia will discuss StyleHaul’s original content strategy, including recent projects Fresh Dressed and VANITY, and other upcoming initiatives, including more content planned as a result of StyleHaul’s partnership with FremantleMedia and the company’s newest proprietary scalable influencer development platform, StyleHaul Society.

Sign up now for this exclusive event, which sold out last year. Many more top speakers to be reveled over the next few weeks.

STUDY: Good YouTube Reviews Drive Purchases For 89% Of UK Consumers

by Jessica Klein

People have long been warned not to believe everything they see on the internet, but that’s not stopping people in the UK from trusting reviews on YouTube above all over media.

According to the BuzzMyVideos Online Video Barometer, a survey conducted independently by OnePoll, almost half of UK respondents between the ages of 16 and 45 put their faith in YouTubers, while the second largest portion, 23 percent, believe most in what magazines have to say. TV got just 14 percent of the consumer vote of confidence, while radio got a mere 2 percent.

Like in the US, people in the UK turn to YouTube for lots of “how-to” advice. BuzzMyVideos found that 52 percent of the people they surveyed use digital video to figure out how to complete a task. The assumption is that YouTube will not lead them astray.


This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

‘Mortal Kombat’ Cracks Top 20 Game Franchises On YouTube

The numbers from YouTube don’t lie — when it comes to gameplay videos, WB Games’ Mortal Kombat X is a hit.

The latest entry in the bloody (and popular) fighting game series managed to handily crack the top 20 game franchises on YouTube, according to numbers reported by Octoly and Newzoo. Although it wasn’t successful enough to knock mainstay MineCraft out of the number one slot, it still fared very well since its mid-month debut, jumping nine places for the month with an overall growth rate in views by 170 percent.

The chart, posted below, highlights the 20 most popular games for the month. Gaming videos made by fans comprised 98.2 percent of overall views in the top 20, with some drawing into the billions of views for the month.

Leading the pack is Microsoft’s MineCraft, which continues to dominate with nearly four billion views and a 34 percent overall take of the top 20. However, close behind in second place is Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series, which saw a boost in popularity with its video editor tool, introduced in the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V. It maintained a steady count of 1.3 billion videos, or approximately 12 percent of overall views for the month.

Other games, like Five Nights At Freddy’s, Call of Duty and League of Legends rounded out the top five, with League taking a two-notch rise over the previous month. However, the real surprise here is Mortal Kombat, which gained 332 million views for the month, or three percent overall. With the release of X, the game franchise jumped nine places from the previous month, with 97.5 percent of fan videos overall.

In addition, franchises like Game of War, Assassin’s Creed and Pokémon debuted in the top 20 for April, while familiar favorites like Battlefield, Team Fortress and World of Tanks dropped a few notches — even though all the franchises have well over 100 million views with their fan videos, indicating that they aren’t dying down in popularity anytime soon.

It just goes to show that there’s always room for “new” blood to enter the picture in the top 20 — and this week’s forthcoming release of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt could catapult that franchise into May 2015’s list easily, considering its pre-release hype.

The full top 20 is below.


Streaming Video Predicted To Triple Viewership By 2019

Streaming video services are beginning to show a bigger impact on mass media, with millions of consumers flocking to Netflix, Hulu Plus and other channels to deliver their entertainment needs. For good measure, Twitch is also growing strongly, with its various game tournaments, devoted broadcaster channels and other services that are helping it see an increase in numbers as well.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that a new study from Juniper Research, as reported by TechCrunch, indicates that subscriber numbers for these services, including Netflix and Amazon Prime, could rise from 92.1 million for this past year to 333.2 million global subscriptions by 2019 – an impressive growth for a five year span.

Devices like Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, Roku and Chromecast make it easy for users to connect to streaming services, as do game consoles and set-top boxes that provide access to streaming video with just the push of a button. Users can gain access to on-demand content, live streams and other special events with ease, instead of having to go through a pre-set channel lineup through a cable box.

While smart TV’s are also delivering streaming video, the firm believes that they don’t contribute as much as expected. These are based upon “poor operating systems and user interfaces,” according to the report.

Meanwhile, set-top boxes and other devices like the ones described above enable viewing on all television sets – even older models – with a great deal of convenience. This makes even older, obsolete televisions (rendered as “dumb” in the report) into modern-day connected devices.

As a result, some cable companies, in the hopes of preventing consumers from “cutting the cord” as it were, are offering packages, such as Verizon’s new a la carte programming package where consumers can pick and choose their bundles – although that’s leaving a few particular cable channels steamed over the matter.

Regarding the growth of on-demand entertainment, Juniper states that the United States will easily lead the way, followed closely behind by the Far East, which has its own set of programming that’s garnering a bigger audience. Netflix recently noted interest in expanding its service to China, through partners like Was Media Holding. (However, at this time, a deal hasn’t been confirmed yet.)

Even though some services don’t use ads, like Netflix and Amazon Prime, there are those, like Hulu and Twitch, that do, and according to the report, ad spend on video-on-demand will increase by almost four times by 2019, with the Far East and China showing the most gain according to the forecast.

Advertisers <3 eSports, And Here's Why

Gamers are avid about eSports competitions, whether they’re aired on Twitch or on live television, like with Heroes of the Storm on ESPN 2 last month. However, along with attracting big audience members, it appears to be a hit on the advertising front as well.

GamesIndustry International reports that a new study by the EEDAR indicates that those who watch eSports spend more money on hardware and software than average gamers, mainly due to the involvement of quality gear from the likes of Razer, Origin PC and others.

With the significant growth in eSports participants and viewers year-over-year, the audience has seen impressive strength — which provides plenty of opportunity for peripheral makers to advertise their wares, as sponsors of said tournament or with advertising surrounding it. Devoted PC gamers are known to spend more on their gaming gear than regular gamers, since they require higher-performance goods from a variety of manufacturers to keep their habits at bay.

As you can see from the chart above, those who get more into eSports spend approximately $1,057 on gaming PC-related gear, compared to the $805 that an average gamer will spend. A majority of that money goes towards high-end equipment like keyboards, mice and headsets, and quality definitely makes a difference, especially with online rounds of games like Call of Duty and League of Legends.

Compared to average gamers, eSports fans spend more than twice as much on peripherals, and approximately 30 percent more on their system. Their overall spending reaches more than $100 for current peripherals, indicating that they’re fine with maximizing the performance of their rig.

The second chart shows that the market size of eSports viewers has managed to grow into a big chunk of the overall PC gaming population, and while it’s not yet at the halfway point of the overall count, it’s certainly getting there, taking up approximately 33 percent.

In addition to spending more money on their PC-related gear, eSports fans also spend more time across different gaming experiences, including various titles across platforms and genres alike, according to the above chart. PC games take a good chunk of their sending, approximately $50 more on PC games than most gamers, and $20 more on console games. Handheld and mobile games, however, are about steady across both groups.

The report also shows that major players in eSports, including game publishers, leagues and content distribution channels, have done a great job thus far keeping players involved with tournaments. Team-based tournament betting, in-game items created with team support in mind, merchandise and microtransactions to increase prize pools have also driven engagement to new heights as well. This, in turn, helps out tournament sponsors, building an audience that spends a great deal of money on these goods, as well as the hardware that makes them feel like they’re right there with the pros.

Look for this trend to roll on, as eSports continues to build popularity and eventually become a force to be reckoned with — maybe even compared to actual sports.

What Games Could Mean For Facebook Messenger

Despite the fact that some see it as an unnecessary requirement, Facebook has fared very well with its Messenger app, with hundreds of millions of users utilizing the program to keep in touch with their friends through instant messaging. Now, the social site could take the app to the next level, with the introduction of games.

Reported by Variety, a new report from online magazine The Information indicates that people from Facebook are already talking to a handful of game developers about bringing their mobile games to the Messenger app, as part of a smooth integration that would allow users to play along with their friends. This comes on the heels of the company announcing support for third-party app integration back in March.

With a few companies on board, the app already allows users to share photos, animations and short video clips in their conversations. These have turned out to be popular features, so it’s obvious why Facebook wants to take it to the next level with games.

The messages with the game apps would appear in a user’s social feed, enabling them to either install it directly or share a message if they already have it in their library.

It’s unclear which developers are being spoken to, and which games would be a proper fit for the Messenger service, as Facebook hasn’t unveiled those plans just yet.

The company did state, however, that it’s currently focused on content creation apps, with intent to explore other opportunities in response to developer interest. Apps like Talking Tom, Giphy, Sound Clips and Bitmoji have already gained a huge following, with more than one million installs following the launch of the Messenger platform.

With 600 million active users, the Messenger app would be an ideal place for games, although, again, implementation would be a key factor, since some users prefer to simply chat instead of playing games outside of their normal mobile routines. It would generate a big amount of money for the social site, provided it was done the right way. In addition, it would allow the site to become competitive with Apple and Google’s respective app stores, providing a way to play said games without the need to install a side application for it.

We’ll see what comes over the next few months, as Facebook eventually reveals what plans it has in store for its Messenger app.

Azubu: Evolving eSports Streams

The massive growth of eSports and streaming video continues, as fans can’t seem to get enough of watching their favorite players gaming. While Twitch has garnered headlines (and a buyout by Amazon) with its rapid rise to 100 million views per month, that’s not the only streaming service around. Competing with the Twitch juggernaut requires a different approach, and that’s where Azubu is looking to make its mark by bringing a professional approach to streaming eSports.

“Azubu is a global broadcast network, delivering premium live and on demand eSports action, programming, news and analysis,” according to the web site, focusing on providing in-depth analysis and a solid technical foundation to provide the best streams possible. Azubu’s CEO Ian Sharpe sat down with [a]listdaily to discuss what’s happening at Azubu and in the world of eSports and streaming video.

Ian Sharpe

What’s new at Azubu and what’s coming up?

In the last year Azubu 2.0 has launched, we’ve signed teams like KeSPA, and have continued to sign teams. Azubu 2.0 really represented us standing something up and proving to the community that there was a way to have an alternative to Twitch — a global platform. The underlying technology meant that we could be global, we could work all around the world. That’s what was good about 2.0, but it didn’t really look the part and we’ve had a lot of people in the community say that. So we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the design and the approach. We’ve sat down and listened to the community, and we’re on the eve of launching something to the market that we started showing at GDC. We’ve shown it to some teams, we’ve shown it to Riot, to some other publishers, and we’ve started to get a massive response. The buzz is out there. We’re creating something that is much more dedicated to a good user experience, to a great design, to being broadcasters first, to enabling discovery for new teams and to learn from some of the great sites out there.

How is the audience of eSports changing Is it just growth, or is the demographic changing, or the desires within the demographic?

It’s an interesting thing. I think it’s like a river in that there are swells and there are eddies and there are countercurrents. Just look at CounterStrike:Global Offensive, it’s something that’s just had a resurgence; it’s like a swirl or an eddy. Then there’s what seems to be the oversaturation of the MOBA — Infinite Crisis, a MOBA too far. You’ve got Super Evil Evil Megacorps’s Vainglory and others coming out, testing the space and testing how people are interacting with it. Ultimately the river is growing and it’s moving towards the sea, and that’s a great thing. But on the way there are little forks, little rivulets like Vainglory that are seeing whether one day they may transform into a stream and become another river. There are things like League of Legends that just go from strength to strength, year after year. Ultimately what I see is experiment and evolution, and people trying stuff.

What kind of viewership are you seeing on mobile, and how is that changing?

We sat down at Christmastime and realized we had developed an app, and we’d thrown something up there, and it worked — but we weren’t making mobile a first-class citizen. So in January we came to that and created a dedicated mobile team. What we’re seeing is significant mobile usage, especially in South Korea. An eSports veteran that works with us said to me, “You’ve got to understand. Kids in Korea, there’s one TV and it’s a small apartment and they live at home. Mom and Dad are watching Korean soap operas, kids are going and watching the abundant eSports content in their rooms. That’s why you’re seeing a lot of pickup.” We are seeing significant mobile usage, to the point where, in certain territories, one in five of our streams is just watched on mobile.

How is Azubu working with the audience, and trying to create a better experience?

We’ve invested in a business intelligence team, there’s a whole bunch of people doing a forensic deep dive and looking at the stats, understanding the anatomy of the audience. One of the other things that goes along with this is customer service. We want to make sure that, if you’re watching content on Azubu, you don’t howl into the void. We going to put a customer service team in place that will support and help and nurture. That will then feed into our metrics, that will feed into whether people feel it’s a warm and friendly experience or something you will fight your way through. I think we’re past the phase of early adopter technology and we’re now into the phase that we help consumers get onboard, and that’s what we’re trying to do as well.

You’ve got changes to the Azubu product underway, but what about your marketing? How are you getting the message out about Azubu and how it’s changing?

I’ll give you a philosophy and I’ll give you a practicality. Philosophically, you made a distinction between product and marketing, but they have to be linked. You can say whatever you want in a marketing campaign, but unless you’ve got the product to back it up… you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. It has got to start with the product. It has to be a position of strength you can then have a marketing campaign around, otherwise people are just going to say it’s terrible. A good product gives us the basis for a good marketing campaign. Then there’s a whole bunch of stuff our good friends at Ayzenberg are going to put into place. We’re going to transform the Azubu brand, the name, the legacy.

We’re not rushing out a product just to prove to our investors and the community that Azubu is a thing, we’re creating the right thing we know the community wants. We’re taking our time about doing it. It’s really been almost a year since we’ve done any significant press. I say this internally a lot: You don’t turn on the taps when you have a leaky bathtub. You fix the bathtub, then turn on the taps, and that’s what we’re about to do.

Tencent Rules The World As The Largest Game Company

The gaming industry continues to grow substantially on its way to $100 billion a year in global sales, largely on the strength of mobile games. While a number of mobile game companies have risen to join the $1 billion in annual sales club, it’s still the diversified game publishers that are the world’s largest game companies. Leading that list, once again, is China’s Tencent.

VentureBeat recently posted an article that explains how the Chinese company has taken over the industry, with a number of facts to back up that claim. Tencent owns the most popular social media and messaging services in China, but derives the majority of its revenue from games. The company has also invested heavily in Western game companies; it’s the majority investor in Riot Games, and it owns large stakes in Epic Games and Activision Blizzard, among others.

Tencent’s revenues managed to reach a whopping $3.65 billion in the first quarter for 2015, ending March 31. That’s a 22 percent increase from a year before, with a non-GAAP profit of $1.16 billion – a 37 percent increase from 2014. By comparison that quarterly revenue is only slightly below what Electronic Arts or Activision Blizzard took in during their entire last year.

“During the first quarter of 2015, we continued to expand our mobile user base and improve our engagement with users while delivering solid financial results,” said Ma Huateng, chairman and CEO for Tencent. “Our key mobile properties extended their leadership in China and continued to broaden user activities from social and communications to gaming, entertainment, media content, payment and beyond.

“Driven by mobile-social and video advertisements, our total advertising revenue more than doubled year-on-year,” Hauteng continued. “Our Red Envelope gifting initiative spurred increased adoption of our payment solutions and boosted total payment volume. Looking ahead, we aim to bring further technology benefits to users through our ‘Internet +’ strategy of connecting users with services in various vertical industries through collaboration with a broad range of partners.”

Going into further detail with the “value-added services,” Tencent stated that they rose in revenue by 29 percent, up to $3 billion. Online game revenue also saw a heavy increase, to $2.14 billion, over the year, through a number of its popular smartphone games.

Revenue from PC client games also showed no signs of slowing, contributing to the increase alongside social network revenues, which grew by 32 percent to $856 million.

In-game item sales in mobile platforms and higher subscription revenues from the company’s QQ membership also added up, with an increase by 131 percent to $439 million. Total cash overall equaled $4.08 billion, although that number was a 26 percent decrease from the previous year, mainly due to strategic investments.

Tencent reported that its monthly smartphone users for the QQ service reached 603 million, a 23 percent increase from a year ago, and the combined monthly active users for its Weixin and WeChat services grew to 549 million – a 39 percent increase.

As far as the most popular games, both FIFA Online 3 and Riot Games’ League of Legends (in which Tencent has a healthy investment) were revenue leaders.

Revenues from smartphone games reached over $700 million, an 82 percent increase from the previous year, making Tencent the largest publisher of mobile games in China. This includes a number of licensed titles, including Infinity Blade Saga and Naruto games.

Of course, a lot of this success comes from key partnerships, as Tencent has investments in Riot Games, as well as Activision Blizzard and Epic Games, the makers of the popular Unreal Engine technology.

In addition, it recently invested a whopping $60 million for a 20 percent stake in Pocket Gems, a popular mobile company that produced the hit War Dragons. It’s a key investment, as its releases have seen more than 200 million downloads since its release, according to TechCrunch.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Tencent, whose unparalleled strength in games publishing and operations in China will help us create great mobile games and entertainment for players globally,” said Pocket Gems CEO Ben Liu.

Indeed, there’s no stopping Tencent’s momentum now, as its dominance is sure to continue in the gaming industry for years to come.